206993 Hidden trajectories of influence in the relationships among mental health, substance use and juvenile justice reentry: Reexamining the impacts of Health Link

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Raphael Travis, DrPH, LCSW , School of Social Work, Texas State University - San Marcos, San Marcos, TX
This paper uses a positive youth development (PYD) perspective (a) to determine the feasibility of competence, character and connection (i.e., thriving); substance use and mental health as latent constructs in a sample of formerly incarcerated adolescents; (b) to determine whether case management outcomes (i.e., recidivism, substance use, well-being) could be explained by their simultaneous relationships with underlying developmental processes of thriving as represented by competence, character and connection. The study used a sample of 529 African-American and Latino males between the ages of 16 and 18 years. Structural equation modeling (AMOS 17.0) was used to analyze the fit of the proposed model linking pre and post incarceration data on mental health and substance use along with proxy indicators for the hypothesized thriving constructs. Results provide modest support of how increases in thriving indicators correspond with positive mental health and decreased substance use. Results supported small, but significant influences of thriving pre and post incarceration (Chi-square 717.29 (328); CFI .792; RMSEA .047). The model also supported a stronger mental health to substance use (self-medication) pathway to re-arrest. The structural model fit was not equivalent across ethnicity or treatment/control status, suggesting the need for further research to examine alternative thriving pathways. The strength of person - context relations may be compromised by contextual factors such as incarceration, but attention to facilitating available strengths and thriving assets such as through reentry transition programs like Health Link has the potential to positively influence the mental health and well-being of adolescents.

Learning Objectives:
1. Define thriving as it relates to positive youth development and mental health. 2. Describe current strategies for assessing mental health and well-being for individuals involved in the juvenile justice system. 3. Compare strategies for assessing relationships among person - context characteristics and recidivism outcomes.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Criminal Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a licensed clinical social worker by training and hold an active license. I have research experience in prisoner reentry. My professional background includes work with formerly incarcerated youth.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Mental Health Poster Session V
See more of: Mental Health